I can only really talk about Orch applications, but below is my $0.02 There are always lots of factors involved and no recruiting system is fool proof or completely fair. With the US system, which does seems to be one of the fairest, the only floor I would say is because the day of auditions is fixed, many players that are either in jobs, or busy freelancers/professors, that the Orch would want to show up, simply won't be available. So you could be the best player there on that day, and the panel is thinking, "yeah but if so and so had shown he'd have been way better". Often its better if all the "big guns" show up, then it makes the winner more credible and they know they've explored most of their options so will feel happier about making a final decision. In the UK, in order to hear everyone, Orchestras will sometimes give someone an alternatively date that is convenient for you, LSO and RPO have done this for me in the past. I have experienced though that many of the smaller Orchs can be less flexible. Then of course they trial anything up to 20 people, which can take a very long time. Which is fairer? Who knows? It does seem though that with both systems, it drags on, either with lots of trials, or auditions. I heard about the latest round of auds for the NYPO Bass Trombone position, which the HKPOs Paul Pollard was running up. I have to say that sounded like a very thorough and fair procedure, and they did hire someone.